Description 7 1/2 - 8 1/2" A sleek, gray-brown, crested bird. Similar to Cedar
Waxwing but larger, grayer, and with conspicuous white wing patches and rusty red
(not white) undertail coverts.
Juveniles have most of the aforementioned field marks, but are mottled gray-brown
and lack the feather-tips. The feather-tips seem to increase in number and size as
the birds age.
Habitat Open areas, coniferous forests, and edges of boreal forests, often in
places with sparse tree cover above brushy understory.
Diet Bohemian Waxwings eat some insects, but are primarily fruit-eaters, a trait
that dictates much of their behavior. They eat almost nothing but fruit in the winter,
relying on the berries of mountain ash, juniper, holly, and others. They also forage
on fruit crops and ornamental plantings. Waxwings are susceptible to alcohol
intoxication, and even death, from eating fermented fruit.
Nesting Bohemian Waxwings are monogamous and both members of the pair
help build the nest. The nest is a loose, flat saucer of twigs, lichens, and grass in
The female lays and incubates 4 to 6 eggs; pale blue, heavily spotted and scrawled
with black ,for about 14 to 15 days. Both parents feed the young, which leave the
nest at 14 to 18 days. Like most songbirds, they feed insects to their young at first,
but switch to feeding the young berries within a few days.
The young stay close to the nest and are fed by the parents for another few days.
Family groups may stay together through the fall.
Range Breeds from Alaska, Yukon, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba
south to central Washington, northern Idaho, and northwestern Montana. Wanders
irregularly farther south and east during winter. Also in Eurasia.
During winter, they can be found in a variety of habitats, as long as there is fruit
available. They often congregate in towns with abundant plantings of fruit-bearing
Voice High-pitched, lisping seeee, harsher and more grating than call of Cedar
Discussion This species forms large winter flocks in the northern United
States only about once a decade. Its occasional erratic movements southward in
winter are thought to be caused by food shortages in the North. When it appears, it
feeds on berries.
One hundred or more of these birds perched in the top of a leafless tree in
midwinter, calling shrilly, is an unforgettable event. Highly social, Bohemian
Waxwings usually move about in tight formations, descending en masse on a
clump of bushes and quickly stripping them of fruit.
March 3, 2005 They swooped in as a large flock of close to one hundred.
It was a real feeding frenzy to get to the berries that were left on the
After just a
mere minute of
they'd take flight
toward the tall